How to Overcome Gym Intimidation

May 15, 2023

Gym intimidation is very real and can be a huge roadblock for many who want to get healthier and get in shape. Dealing with it can be more difficult than many people realize. While it’s easy to walk through the doors into the gym, it’s also incredibly easy to look around, turn back and leave. Getting over gym intimidation can take some work, but it’s possible to do and can be a game-changer for those who want to take back their health and look forward to a healthier, happier future.

Causes of Gym Intimidation

Understanding the possible causes of gym intimidation is key to overcoming it and starting to work out regularly. Though everyone is different and will have different anxieties, there are some common issues that stop people from going to the gym.

No Privacy

Gyms are large open spaces, so everyone can see everyone else while they’re working out. Even the rooms for classes can have open windows so everyone outside the room can see inside. Those just getting started working out may feel uncomfortable being seen by others as they learn to use the machines and do different exercises.

Machines Can be Confusing to Use

Some of the machines can be incredibly confusing for those who haven’t used them before. Sometimes, it’s easy to be afraid of looking dumb while trying out new machines or equipment, or to feel silly for having to stop and read directions before beginning.

Pressure When Signing Up

In some gyms, there’s a lot of pressure to sign up right away. Sales, aggressive salespersons, and signs everywhere can contribute to anxiety and easily lead to someone signing up even though they aren’t sure they like the gym yet.

Too Easy to Make Comparisons

With the wide open spaces and ability to see everyone, it’s all too easy for newcomers to end up comparing themselves to those who have been going to the gym for years and who are already in great shape. Everyone has to start somewhere, though.

Try Finding the Right Gym

Finding the right gym makes all the difference. Try out gyms and do some research to see what they look like, what types of people they cater to, and what services they offer. Make sure it’s convenient, welcoming, and has everything necessary for the desired workouts.

Reach for Your Motivation

Reach deep to determine motivation. Everyone is different, but finding the motivation can be a great way to create the determination needed to overcome gym intimidation. Write it down and put it somewhere in view if needed. Keep the motivation in mind while driving to the gym and when arriving for that extra push to go in and get started.

Pick Out Comfy Clothes

Workout clothes come in many different options, so take some time to choose something that’s comfortable. Learn more about the different types of workout clothes, try on different options, and pick out an outfit or two to get started. Don’t go overboard with gym clothes until you try them out at the gym and see what feels good for you. Even if you just wear shorts and a t-shirt at first, make sure you’re comfortable. It’s always possible to add to your gym clothes later when you know what you like.

Crank Up the Music

Music makes it easy to ignore everything else going on in the gym. Turn on the tunes and tune out everything else to avoid distractions. Create a playlist ahead of time, figure out the right songs for an excellent workout, and make sure it’s long enough for the time at the gym. Adjust the playlist as needed to create the perfect one for any workout.

Track Everything and Reach Your Goals

Tracking can help create motivation to get in the gym and start working out. While too much tracking can be a bad thing, tracking the days you go, how much you work out, and other details can give the extra push to keep going and avoid missing days. Today, smartwatches and other gear can help with tracking workouts, and there are tons of apps designed to help with reaching workout goals.

Learn to Use the Machines

A big part of the intimidation for many people is just not knowing what to do or how to do it. Most gyms will offer an orientation, where it’s possible to go around the gym with someone and learn how to use the machines or other equipment. Just learning a little bit about how everything works can make you more comfortable giving them a try.

Consider a Personal Trainer or Workout Buddy

Getting professional help may be a great way to keep going to the gym week after week. A health and nutrition consultant can provide the information needed to help you reach your goals. A personal trainer can provide assistance in learning what to do and how to do it safely. If you’re not up for hiring a professional yet, even going with a workout friend can help keep you motivated to go.

Timing Can be Everything

Consider what time is best to work out each day or week. While many studies show it’s better to work out in the morning, gyms do get busy during certain parts of the day, such as early in the morning or right after work. While morning or evening hours may work better for your schedule, in the beginning, choosing a less busy time may be less intimidating and can help you get used to going to the gym. It’s always possible to change the schedule later once you’re more comfortable.

Gym intimidation impacts many people and prevents them from getting better control over their health, but it doesn’t have to, and there are ways to overcome gym intimidation. Consider why you feel intimidated by the gym, what your motivation is for going, and what steps you can take to overcome it and start working out. Try out the tips here, find the right help, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a gym regular and reaching your goals.

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